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Andrews S.S.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Andrews S.S.,Tata Institute of Fundamental Research | Andrews S.S.,Molecular science Institute | Andrews S.S.,Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center | And 7 more authors.
PLoS Computational Biology | Year: 2010

Most cellular processes depend on intracellular locations and random collisions of individual protein molecules. To model these processes, we developed algorithms to simulate the diffusion, membrane interactions, and reactions of individual molecules, and implemented these in the Smoldyn program. Compared to the popular MCell and ChemCell simulators, we found that Smoldyn was in many cases more accurate, more computationally efficient, and easier to use. Using Smoldyn, we modeled pheromone response system signaling among yeast cells of opposite mating type. This model showed that secreted Bar1 protease might help a cell identify the fittest mating partner by sharpening the pheromone concentration gradient. This model involved about 200,000 protein molecules, about 7000 cubic microns of volume, and about 75 minutes of simulated time; it took about 10 hours to run. Over the next several years, as faster computers become available, Smoldyn will allow researchers to model and explore systems the size of entire bacterial and smaller eukaryotic cells. © 2010 Andrews et al.

Dey S.S.,University of California at Berkeley | Dey S.S.,University Utrecht | Foley J.E.,University of California at Berkeley | Limsirichai P.,University of California at Berkeley | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Systems Biology | Year: 2015

While gene expression noise has been shown to drive dramatic phenotypic variations, the molecular basis for this variability in mammalian systems is not well understood. Gene expression has been shown to be regulated by promoter architecture and the associated chromatin environment. However, the exact contribution of these two factors in regulating expression noise has not been explored. Using a dual-reporter lentiviral model system, we deconvolved the influence of the promoter sequence to systematically study the contribution of the chromatin environment at different genomic locations in regulating expression noise. By integrating a large-scale analysis to quantify mRNA levels by smFISH and protein levels by flow cytometry in single cells, we found that mean expression and noise are uncorrelated across genomic locations. Furthermore, we showed that this independence could be explained by the orthogonal control of mean expression by the transcript burst size and noise by the burst frequency. Finally, we showed that genomic locations displaying higher expression noise are associated with more repressed chromatin, thereby indicating the contribution of the chromatin environment in regulating expression noise. © 2015 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.

Oh J.,Stanford University | Fung E.,Stanford University | Schlecht U.,Stanford University | Davis R.W.,Stanford University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2010

Candida albicans is the most common human fungal pathogen, causing infections that can be lethal in immunocompromised patients. Although Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used as a model for C. albicans, it lacks C. albicans' diverse morphogenic forms and is primarily non-pathogenic. Comprehensive genetic analyses that have been instrumental for determining gene function in S. cerevisiae are hampered in C. albicans, due in part to limited resources to systematically assay phenotypes of lossof- function alleles. Here, we constructed and screened a library of 3633 tagged heterozygous transposon disruption mutants, using them in a competitive growth assay to examine nutrient- and drug-dependent haploinsufficiency. We identified 269 genes that were haploinsufficient in four growth conditions, the majority of which were condition-specific. These screens identified two new genes necessary for filamentous growth as well as ten genes that function in essential processes. We also screened 57 chemically diverse compounds that more potently inhibited growth of C. albicans versus S. cerevisiae. For four of these compounds, we examined the genetic basis of this differential inhibition. Notably, Sec7p was identified as the target of brefeldin A in C. albicans screens, while S. cerevisiae screens with this compound failed to identify this target. We also uncovered a new C. albicans-specific target, Tfp1p, for the synthetic compound 0136-0228. These results highlight the value of haploinsufficiency screens directly in this pathogen for gene annotation and drug target identification. © 2010 Oh et al.

Xu T.,University of Oklahoma | Li Y.,University of Oklahoma | He Z.,University of Oklahoma | He Z.,Virtual Institute for Microbial Stress and Survival | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Microbiology | Year: 2014

Cellulosomes are key for lignocellulosic biomass degradation in cellulolytic Clostridia. Better understanding of the mechanism of cellulosome regulation would allow us to improve lignocellulose hydrolysis. It is hypothesized that cellulosomal protease inhibitors would regulate cellulosome architecture and then lignocellulose hydrolysis. Here, a dockerin-containing protease inhibitor gene (dpi) in Clostridium cellulolyticum H10 was characterized by mutagenesis and physiological analyses. The dpi mutant had a decreased cell yield on glucose, cellulose and xylan, lower cellulose utilization efficiency, and a 70% and 52% decrease of the key cellulosomal components, Cel48F and Cel9E respectively. The decreased cellulolysis is caused by the proteolysis of major cellulosomal components, such as Cel48F and Cel9E. Disruption of cel9E severely impaired cell growth on cellulose while loss of cel48F completely abolished cellulolytic activity. These observations are due to the combinational results of gene inactivation and polar effects caused by intron insertion. Purified recombinant Dpi showed inhibitory activity against cysteine protease. Taken together, Dpi protects key cellulosomal cellulases from proteolysis in H10. This study identified the physiological importance of cellulosome-localized protease inhibitors in Clostridia. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Price M.N.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Price M.N.,Virtual Institute for Microbial Stress and Survival | Dehal P.S.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Dehal P.S.,Virtual Institute for Microbial Stress and Survival | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: We recently described FastTree, a tool for inferring phylogenies for alignments with up to hundreds of thousands of sequences. Here, we describe improvements to FastTree that improve its accuracy without sacrificing scalability. Methodology/Principal Findings: Where FastTree 1 used nearest-neighbor interchanges (NNIs) and the minimum-evolution criterion to improve the tree, FastTree 2 adds minimum-evolution subtree-pruning-regrafting (SPRs) and maximum-likelihood NNIs. FastTree 2 uses heuristics to restrict the search for better trees and estimates a rate of evolution for each site (the "CAT" approximation). Nevertheless, for both simulated and genuine alignments, FastTree 2 is slightly more accurate than a standard implementation of maximum-likelihood NNIs (PhyML 3 with default settings). Although FastTree 2 is not quite as accurate as methods that use maximum-likelihood SPRs, most of the splits that disagree are poorly supported, and for large alignments, FastTree 2 is 100-1,000 times faster. FastTree 2 inferred a topology and likelihood-based local support values for 237,882 distinct 16S ribosomal RNAs on a desktop computer in 22 hours and 5.8 gigabytes of memory. Conclusions/Significance: FastTree 2 allows the inference of maximum-likelihood phylogenies for huge alignments. FastTree 2 is freely available at http://www.microbesonline.org/fasttree. © 2010 Price et al.

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